Types of Media Explained

Evaporative cooling relies on the simple process of water evaporation to create cool air. There are quite a few vital parts to an evaporative cooler, and each part has an important role to play in the cooling process, but the media may be most crucial to the efficiency of the evaporative cooler. So, what is media?

The media (or media pads) attach to the outer panels of the evaporative cooler unit, just inside the vents. The main cooler pump circulates the water from the pan up to the top of the unit, where the water then streams down onto the media pads. The evaporative cooler’s fan then pulls the outside air through the vents and through the soaked media pads, humidifying and cooling the air before it is pushed into the home.

There are two different kinds of media: cellulose and aspen.

Cellulose media pads are a specially crafted paper, engineered for optimum humidification. They are sometimes referred to as rigid media. The cellulose paper is not only highly absorbent, but it is also bent into a cross-fluted design allowing for the most efficient water and air mixing. This creates intense evaporation. The increased efficiency offered by cellulose media pads has several advantages. They require less water usage to maintain comfortable temperatures. This allows for use of lower fan speeds to achieve the same cooling. Lower fan speeds equal less electricity used and lower utility costs.

Aspen media pads are created from natural aspen fibers, held together by a plastic netting. They work in the same manner as cellulose pads, allowing the water to pump down over and start the process of evaporation. There are two advantages to aspen media. First, aspen pads take up less space than cellulose pads, allowing for more air exchange inside the evaporative cooler unit. Aspen media also increases the CFM (cubic feet per minute) that the evaporative cooler can cover, since there is a higher air exchange rate. Second, aspen media pads are the most affordable media choice.

TIP: Aspen media is made of a natural fiber, so it is another way that evaporative cooling is kinder to the environment.

It is very important to note these two types of media are not interchangeable. Each evaporative cooler has been designed to be used with one type of media, either rigid or aspen. Check your Owner’s Manual to be sure you are using the type of media engineered for your unit. Cellulose rigid media and aspen media pads can both be purchased at most major hardware stores, online retailers, and from us here. You can also call us at 800-643-8341 to place an order by phone.